Google’s Nexus 7 vs Amazon Kindle ereader

Features Richard Goodwin 17:31, 20 Aug 2012

Cutthroat pricing and bleeding edge technology make Google’s Nexus 7 top of the tabs, but could it replace your Amazon Kindle ereader?

Why have burger when you can have steak? Well, sometimes a burger is nicer than a steak and in this context the burger (Amazon’s Kindle ereader) does have some rather unique points of interest over its steak counterpart (Nexus 7), such as its E-Ink display, never-ending battery life, and large storage capacity. It’s also extremely affordable at less than £100 too.

Like a good burger the Amazon Kindle offers an all-round satisfying experience. It’s easy to use, simple to setup, and the perfect device for carrying around in your bag on account of its lightweight design. In this respect it’s easy to understand why the Kindle is number one with 99.9 per cent of the world’s digital reading public.

I used to be one of these people: a Kindle purist. But since having the Nexus 7 all my well-travelled Kindle seems to do these days is sit around collecting dust on my desk. And it’s not just the Kindle – my iPad doesn’t travel as much as it used either. But that’s beside the point in this context, as I never used it to read ebooks anyway. Still, it is very telling of the implications associated with larger tablets.
Replacing my Kindle with a Nexus 7 was also a lot easier than I had anticipated. Size-wise there’s not much difference between the two devices and all my purchased Kindle ebooks were still waiting for me in their new home once I’d logged into the Kindle application.

Reading on the Nexus 7, despite its backlit display, is a far nicer experience than that found on Apple’s iPad, again, on account of its size – Apple needs to release the iPad Mini if not for this reason alone.  But the best thing about swapping my Kindle for a Nexus 7 is that I now travel with a fully-fledged tablet device that carries the latest version of Google’s Android platform and a quad-core Tegra 3 processor.

And I don’t read any less either. All that’s changed is that I now carry around the Nexus 7 inside my bag instead of the Kindle. For the most part I haven’t missed the latter’s E-Ink display either, largely because the vast majority of my commute is underground, although I would concede that for outside reading under direct sunlight nothing compares to Amazon’s Kindle.

As a day-to-day device though the Nexus 7 has the Kindle beat in practically every respect. The form-factor of the device combined with its phone-style Jelly Bean UI renders Android in a much better light – all of a sudden Android on a tablet makes sense. Plus you can browse the web, purchase and rent movies, send emails and play games like Max Payne 3, Shadow Gun, and GTA III.

I will concede three areas where the Kindle has the Nexus 7 well and truly beat, however, so as to ensure that I’m not leading anyone too far down the garden path:

  • Its E-Ink display is better for reading, especially under direct sunlight.
  • The Kindle’s battery is unquestionably better providing around a month of usage from a single charge.
  • You can store thousands of books in the Kindle while the Nexus 7 is limited to just 8GB or 16GB.

I’m in the fortunate position of having both devices, so I can pick and choose between the two of them, but if you’re on a budget and can only afford to get one it becomes a slightly trickier decision. In this context I’d advise you to still go with the Nexus 7. Why? Simple:

  • It’s a great ereader
  • It’s a great all-round tablet
  • You can play awesome games on it – Max Payne, GTA III, and Shadow Gun
  • It’s lightweight and well built
  • Google gifts you £15 to stock it with content as soon as you boot it up
  • Lastly? You get all of the above for just a smidgen more than the cost of a Kindle.

What more could you want? Oh yes, of course: the iPad Mini.

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